Career OverviewPeople with kidney problems face a number of serious health risks. In many cases, without an artificial method of removal, waste and excess fluids in the blood can create potentially fatal complications.
Dialysis technicians are responsible for operating dialysis machines that remove waste and excess fluid from the blood of patients whose kidneys can no longer perform this function properly. Dialysis technicians are sometimes referred to as renal dialysis technicians, hemodialysis techncians, or nephrology technicians, but all of these titles denote the same responsibility and function within the modern medical community.
For the most part, dialysis technicians are supervised by physicians and work primarily in hospitals and clinics. They operate, clean, and sterilize the dialysis machines and they must also deal specifically with patient needs. They must monitor and record the patient’s weight and their vital signs before, during, and after the blood cleansing procedure has been completed. They must also review in-home treatment with patients and instruct them in the proper procedures.
Dialysis technicians work in dynamic environments and because they work with blood, they must follow strict safety guidelines to guard against contamination that could put them at risk for infectious diseases carried in the blood, such as hepatitis and AIDS.
As a minimum, dialysis technicians must have a high school diploma or equivalent GED certificate. This is the minimum requirement for entry into any state-approved training program for dialysis technicians. Training programs are generally run by technical schools, community colleges, or sometimes by hospitals.
More information about educational and training opportunities is available through the following organization:
National Association of Nephrology Technicians
11 West Monument Ave. Suite 510
Dayton, OH 45402www.nephroworld.com
Job OutlookThe aging of the US population creates the likelihood that a number of degenerative conditions will become increasingly common amongst the general population. Kidney disease and renal failure are relatively common symptoms of a number of different conditions, so dialysis technicians are considered to have favorable to above average job prospects in the foreseeable future.
Although the general nature of health care and the structure of the health care system may change, the need for dialysis technicians is unlikely to be eradicated. In fact, dialysis technicians may find that they are more frequently called upon to treat patients at home or at specialist clinics, rather than in a hospital setting.
Having said this, such a change is only likely to better the job outlook for dialysis technicians because treating patients at home or at specialist clinics is not necessarily a practice that physicians are interested in undertaking.
Career TrackDialysis technicians have a range of specialist skills. With the appropriate level of experience and demonstrated managerial skills, promotion to supervisory positions may be possible, particularly in larger institutions.
CompensationAlthough compensation varies, annual salaries for dialysis technicians ranges between $20,000 to $35,000 per year and most positions also afford benefits such as medical and dental insurance, paid vacations, and sick leave.